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...and How Does "Bail and Bail Bonding Process in New Jersey" Affect My DWI Charges

 

New Jersey Statutory Law prohibits driving while intoxicated (DWI). Driving while intoxicated includes driving under the influence of alcohol, over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, hallucinogenic drugs or habit-producing drugs. If there was a DWI-related accident where someone was seriously injured or killed, then you could face criminal charges, such as assault by auto, vehicular homicide or manslaughter.

When you’re facing a DWI charge or DWI-related criminal charge, there may be the requirement of posting bail. Of course, your ability to make bail depends on the severity of your charges. Generally, the more serious the charge, the higher bail you have to pay – assuming bail is possible.

What is Bail?

Bail is a specific amount of money or other security, like a bail bond. The purpose of paying bail to the courts is to assure that you’ll return for a future court date. In exchange for bail, the court allows your release from jail.

It’s important to realize that the bail you pay is separate from any New Jersey court fees or fines related to your DWI charge. In other words, in addition to bail, you might also have to pay additional fines or court costs.

  • In New Jersey, you’ll generally pay a fine between $250 to $400 for your first DWI offense. You’ll also face at least 12 hours in jail before you can possibly make bail.
  • If it’s your first New Jersey DWI offense, and your blood alcohol level is .10 percent or higher, than you’ll face stiffer penalties. You’ll pay a fine between $300 to $500 in this case. The same situation applies if you’re under the influence of a drug, such as marijuana or some other narcotic.
  • A second DWI offense in New Jersey will earn you a fine of not less than $500, but no more than $1000. Community service is a requirement as well, generally for 30 days.
  • A third DWI offense results in a $1000 fine and possibly 180 days in jail.

The amount of your bail might depend on several things. These things can include the seriousness of your DWI criminal charge, your history with the criminal justice system, your community ties, your reputation and so on.

New Jersey requires a non-refundable $30 filing fee for bail. A judge also can add certain provisions onto your bail. For example, you might lose your driving privileges as a condition of your bail. If you fail to adhere to the condition, then bail is forfeit and you return to jail.

New Jersey Bail

According to the New Jersey Superior Court, people facing a DWI criminal charge in New Jersey have several bail options available:

  • Cash Only – The full bail amount is due in cash.
  • Cash with a 10 Percent Option – In this case, you can pay 10 percent of the total bail due. The 90 percent remaining is due only if you fail to appear for your court date or dates. This means if your bail is $500, you can pay $50 and get out of jail.
  • Release on Recognizance – No money is due in this type of bail. Instead, you sign an agreement that states you will appear at your future court date as promised.
  • Property Bonds – This type of bail involves giving ownership rights to property over to the state as a form of bail. For instance, a family member could use their home to get you out of jail. If you fail to keep your court date, then the property owner could lose the home.
  • Bail Bonds – A licensed bail bondsman can help with your bail. You’ll normally pay at least a 10 percent fee for this option. The bondsman covers a portion of your bail, and guarantees to the court that you’ll appear at your court date. If you don’t appear, then the bondsman can hand you over to authorities.

In some cases, you might have to appear before a judge for a bail hearing. Once again, it depends on the severity of your case.

Then in some cases, you might not have to appear before a judge for bail. In less-serious cases, law officials might have a chart that lists standard bail types and amounts. You or your family will speak to personnel at the jail, and they’ll provide your bail information. When that’s the case, you don’t need a judge or a bail hearing.

By Kevin Leckerman

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